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People v. Hernandez





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. THOMAS J. MALONEY, Judge, presiding.


Defendant Juan Hernandez was indicted on two counts for the murder of Jaime Mora (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 38, par. 9-1(a)(1), (a)(2)), two counts of armed violence based upon the murder of Mora and the aggravated battery by gunshot wound of Tammie Sandel (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 38, par. 33A-2), and two counts of aggravated battery based upon the shooting of Sandel (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 38, par. 12-4(a), (b)(1)). Motions to quash defendant's arrest and to suppress a confession taken thereafter were denied. A jury found defendant guilty on one count each of murder, armed violence, and aggravated battery. The trial court sentenced defendant to serve 25 years for the murder of Mora and 20 years for the armed violence upon Sandel. The court considered the aggravated battery convictions merged into the armed violence conviction.

Defendant argues on appeal (1) the trial court erred in denying his motions to quash his arrest and to suppress a confession he made thereafter; (2) the State failed to prove him legally accountable for the crimes committed on the victims; and (3) he was denied a fair trial by allegedly improper statements made by the State during its closing and rebuttal arguments to the jury.

On July 6, 1979, at about 11 p.m., Jaime Mora was shot to death and Tammie Sandel was gravely wounded while standing at the intersection of 38th Street and Washtenaw Avenue in Chicago. The gunman was allegedly Mario Mata, who was indicted with defendant but separately tried. Defendant drove the car from which the shots were fired. Defendant was arrested at the home of his girlfriend in Chicago at 6 a.m. the following day.

Defendant's initial motion to suppress rested upon his contention that his confession was involuntary. Arresting officer (Chicago police department) Moser related he arrested defendant at the home of Linda Dunleavy at 6 a.m. on July 7, 1979, in the company of two other officers. Defendant was read his Miranda rights at the time of his arrest and at the police station. Defendant acknowledged understanding those rights. Defendant agreed to give a statement. An assistant State's Attorney was called. He questioned defendant after reading the latter his rights. Defendant gave a 14-page written statement, which he signed. On cross-examination, Moser related defendant was handcuffed to the wall while detained and questioned. Moser did not see defendant beaten while in custody. Defendant did not complain to Moser about his treatment.

Assistant State's Attorney Cavanaugh questioned defendant at the police station. He made no promises or threats to defendant. Cavanaugh noticed nothing unusual about defendant's appearance. Defendant did not complain about his treatment. On cross-examination, Cavanaugh admitted defendant stated he was treated well "except for two guys [police officers]." Cavanaugh did not inquire further on that matter.

Officer Cigielski, Moser's partner, corroborated Moser's version of the events. No threats or promises were made to defendant. Defendant was not abused.

A picture of defendant taken after he gave the statement was admitted into evidence. It showed no indications defendant had been beaten.

Defendant related he was beaten by two policemen while in the detention room. One smacked his head into the wall, while another punched his arms and chest. After the assistant State's Attorney questioned him, policemen offered defendant a deal if he would talk. Eventually, defendant was forced to give a statement. On cross-examination, defendant stated he looked over the written statement before signing it, but did not read it.

The trial court found defendant's version of the events to be non-credible and denied the motion to suppress.

The case proceeded to trial. There, one of the witnesses was Officer Cigielski. He had been assigned to investigate the shootings of Jaime Mora and Tammie Sandel. He interviewed six individuals at the scene and learned the shots had been fired from a brown station wagon. Cigielski was directed to the residence of Linda Dunleavy. There, he spotted a brown station wagon parked in the street and saw a woman looking out a second floor window. Cigielski went to the second floor, knocked, and received no response. He finally kicked in the door and asked for defendant or Dunleavy. Cigielski conducted a search after being told they were not there. He found the two hidden in a closet in the back of the house. Also in the closet was a shotgun. Defendant was arrested. The time was 6 a.m. At the station, defendant admitted to Cigielski he had driven the car involved in the incident.

Later in the proceedings, the trial was disrupted and a mistrial declared at defendant's request. Defendant then filed a motion to quash the arrest based upon the additional information contained in Cigielski's testimony. The trial court denied this motion.

At the second trial, victim Sandel testified to the events on the night of July 6, 1979. She was standing on a street corner with Mora and another man. A brown station wagon drove by. Some time later, the same car approached and stopped. There were four persons in the car. Defendant was driving, and Mario Mata was seated behind him. Sandel knew both men. After the car stopped, a rifle came out the window where Mata was sitting. Sandel's two companions ran. Sandel heard about eight shots. She began to walk away and was shot in the back. The car then drove away, with defendant at the wheel.

Another witness testified to the events of the shooting, which he observed from several hundred feet away. He could not identify the passengers in the car, but saw both Mora and Sandel lying wounded on the ground. ...

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